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Honorable Mention: Gaston Ramirez, Iker Muniain, Adam Johnson, Cristian Tello
Liverpool needs a center-forward/winger on the left side. The position mirrors Luis Suarez, who is on the right. The ideal fit has the ability to go at defenders and use both pace and technical ability to create chances.
Cristian Tello of FC Barcelona is a great player in the making with all the right qualities. However, the Catalans rarely give away young talent. It appears far more likely that they will unload Ibrahim Afellay than part ways with the young Spaniard.
Muniain has been exceptional for Athletic Bilbao. Price is an issue, though. His fee is estimated to be around £25 million, which could be too high for FSG.
The Daily Mail links Gaston Ramirez with Anfield. However, his valuation of at least £20 million is also high. Further, there is apparent competition from Manchester City. That has the makings of a bidding war which Liverpool would probably lose.
The Mirror claims that Eastlands may part with Adam Johnson for just £7 million. If true, that is a great price. However, Roberto Mancini has expressed doubts about both attitude and defensive capabilities.
Brendan Rodgers places both at a huge premium. For that reason, I passed over the Englishman.
That leaves us with Clint Dempsey, who checks all the boxes. At 29, his transfer fee is unlikely to be substantial. He has outstanding vision, great passing ability and is a proven scorer.
There may be competition from the likes of Arsenal for his signature. However, Liverpool offers a starting place which the Gunners arguably do not.
At the Emirates, Dempsey vies with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere for a place. On Merseyside, the comparatively weaker competition comes from Stewart Downing.
Liverpool is not in the Champions League. That could be a major selling point which may entice the American to go elsewhere. Certainly, at nearly 30, he will be worried that time is running out on his hopes of competing on Europe’s biggest stage.
However, at Liverpool, Dempsey has the chance to feature regularly and even star. He could become perhaps the highest-profile American footballer ever playing alongside Suarez within Rodgers’ system.